Synopsis by Mark Deming
A poverty-stricken widower finds new love in a cemetery in this engaging dark comedy from Kurdish filmmaker Hiner Saleem. Hamo (Romen Avinian) is an elderly man living in a small Armenian community which has fallen on hard times since the collapse of the Soviet Union -- where the Soviets at least provided the villagers with free water and electricity, in their current "free" state the locals have to pay for such things, which is no easy task since work is very difficult to find. Hamo, who is attempting to support himself, his eldest son, and his granddaughter on a meager military pension, has put nearly all his faith in one of his sons, who has supposedly found work in Paris. While Hamo waits for word (and a check) from France, he makes frequent visits to the local cemetery, where he visits his late wife. One day, while paying his respects, he meets Nina (Lala Sarkissian), a widow who similarly comes by to chat with her late husband and works as a barmaid at one of the few taverns left in town. Hamo becomes quite fond of Nina, and she responds in kind, but between his loyalty to his deceased bride and her shyness, neither is naturally inclined to make the first move. Vodka Lemon was the winner of the San Marco Prize at the 2003 Venice Film Festival.
Armenia, cemetery, Communist-party, elderly, Soviet-Union, widow/widower